is cleaning up after a rally politically noteable?
October 3, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

What's up with the claim right-wing groups make that their rallies don't leave anything to clean up, while left-wing rallies leave behind tons of litter?

These kind of things. Obviously they are biased sources, but is this a real phenomenon? Are they just lying/ exaggerating, or do they hire people to pick up after them, or just make a big deal about it in the speeches, or what? Maybe there are just less right-wing rallies to compare, or left-wing groups just have more flyers...?
Was anyone in DC to see the actual aftermath of any of these events?
not that it's deeply meaningful, but it just seems like an odd disparity...
posted by mdn to Society & Culture (17 answers total)
I can tell you from experience that left wing rallies create a huge amount of garbage. I've been at a few demos where there is a structured community trash pick up effort and there are some where the organizers have a trash clean up strategy that comes during or after the main event. Even if a couple specific right-wing rallies included a structured clean up, that doesn't mean the trend can be generalized.
posted by serazin at 11:10 AM on October 3, 2010

As a DC resident who's somewhat biased in favor of the left-wing rallies, I think the counts are smaller for the right-wing rallies, and the length of those rallies tends to be shorter. One of your links compares the Obama inauguration with the Tea Party rally, and those weren't comparable at all - the inauguration had absolutely huge crowds of people who were there all day.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2010

(Sorry, my comment contained two differen thoughts that should have been two paragraphs. My point was yes, left rallies make a lot of garbage, but no, I don't think you can generalize that the right is cleaner than the left. And I agree with me & my monkey's comment too.)
posted by serazin at 11:29 AM on October 3, 2010

No, this is not a real phenomenon. The comparison is absurd. Something like 1.8 million people showed up on the Mall for Obama's inauguration. 70,000 people showed up to the Beck rally. This is just a way that conservatives "other" liberals by attacking them as filthy, dirty, and destructive. This is a very, very old right-wing myth.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:40 AM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

“A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah” - Ronald Reagan
The notion that left-wingers are dirty, filthy animals and that right-wingers are clean and law-abiding citizens is one of the oldest tropes in the book. It would only follow, then, that left-wing rally's would result in all sorts of garbage and violence, while right-wing ones would be orderly and that the patriots would meticulously pick up after themselves. It's totally a myth, but it fits the narrative.
posted by Gilbert at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, there was not zero garbage after the Beck rally.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

(Well, to be fair, in those photos the extra trash is piled around overflowing trash cans. That's kind of the best you can do in that context.)
posted by serazin at 12:59 PM on October 3, 2010

Response by poster: Conrad & Gilbert, I had kind of missed the "dirty hippie" component - that makes a lot of sense for the motivation of the narrative at least (though, what does "walks like jane" mean?).

As for the difference being the size of attendance, the second example is one where the left-wing rally is the smaller one. However, it is the same right-wing rally, so maybe glenn beck was just well organized about getting things better cleared up afterwards - or maybe he wasn't and it's being misrepresented...
posted by mdn at 1:25 PM on October 3, 2010

walks like jane = walks like a girl and therefore unmanly and worthy of scorn. Cause girls suck, ya know.
posted by teleri025 at 1:38 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mdn, what you refer to as your second example (I think you mean the first link you posted) is an opinion column where the author doesn't link to a single photo or video clip. I don't think that someone characterizing a labor-backed rally as "celebration of socialist tyranny" is narrating in good faith.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:50 PM on October 3, 2010

The best slanderous 'facts' to make up are the ones that can't be proven either way. This is an excellent example of that.
posted by Ookseer at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

walks like jane = teh gay
posted by victors at 1:52 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: walks like jane = walks like a girl and therefore unmanly and worthy of scorn. Cause girls suck, ya know.

wow. I thought at least maybe it had to do with the "jane fonda's a commie" thing or something... that is nuts.

I don't think that someone characterizing a labor-backed rally as "celebration of socialist tyranny" is narrating in good faith.

Yeah, I don't think they're telling a non-biased story at all - clearly they're trying to set up a particular angle. But people do post supposed evidence of the claims they make, it's just that, as you've said, it's all anecdotal and so hard to judge. I guess there is no way to draw any conclusions beyond bad motivation.
posted by mdn at 2:48 PM on October 3, 2010

I saw something like this here: Photos from OneNation rally (see pics at the bottom). I think that this has less to do with the number of people attending, and much more to do with the creation of an organized clean up effort.
posted by belau at 4:53 PM on October 3, 2010

Your first link is a horribly written article full of spelling and grammatical errors. The second is just a few pictures and a bit of text, some of it claiming that the recent TP rally had two million attendees. To answer your question: Are they just lying/ exaggerating? Yes.
posted by sanko at 6:28 PM on October 3, 2010

When something is organized from the grassroots up, they don't necessarily think of all the details. When something is organized by a billion-dollar media conglomerate, they're going to do what it takes to pretty things up for the cameras.
posted by headnsouth at 7:24 PM on October 3, 2010

They're probably lying to you. You can find a photo or tell a story from any rally pre and post cleanup efforts. If you're dishonest, you can claim that your people are better and more civilized by careful selection and framing of photos or story. It's stupid and illogical. The blogger is just writing that because s/he doesn't like liberals and neither do his/her readers, and if they only want to read information that confirms his/her belief that liberals=bad, conservatives=good, well, there you go.
posted by citron at 7:27 PM on October 3, 2010

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